Five Turbocharged Green Cars You Need To Drive Page 2

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VW GOLF TDI three quarter

VW GOLF TDI three quarter

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2013 Volkswagen Golf 2.0-liter TDI

For years, Volkswagen has offered diesel-engined versions of its cars in the U.S.  

Its 2013 Golf 2.0-liter TDI is one of its best yet. 

Built to the usual standards you’d expect from a Golf, the 2.0-liter TDI  looks underpowered in the horsepower department, but more than makes up for it with 236 pound-feet of torque. 

Although it’s slightly slower to 60 mph than its gasoline sibling, the torquey TDI--combined with the six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox--gives a pleasant driving experience that feels at home in the city and on the highway. 

Talking of gearboxes, the Golf TDI is available with a six-speed manual. While manual gearboxes traditionally give better gas mileage than automatic ones, the 6-speed manual option gives the same 30mpg city, 42 mpg highway, and 34 mpg combined as the DSG automatic.

According to Bengt Halverson, the six speed manual is “on the notchy side,” making the DSG automatic the clear leader for this car. 

2013 Ford Escape 1.6-liter Ecoboost

Turbochargers don’t just help with economy and acceleration times: they can provide lots of torque too. 

The 2013 Ford Escape with 1.6-liter Ecoboost is a perfect example. 

Available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations, the 2013 Ford Escape combines the practicality of a crossover SUV with enough torque to comfortably tow up to 2,000 pounds. 

Like other cars on this list, the 1.6-liter, turbocharged Ecoboost option is more powerful than the base-level 2.5-liter four-cylinder, non-turbocharged engine. 

2013 Ford Escape, launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Nov 2011

2013 Ford Escape, launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Nov 2011

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Combined with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, the FWD variant is capable of 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. 

Adding all-wheel drive reduces that to 22mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. 

For extra towing power--and better performance-- there’s also a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder ecoboost engine option. 

2013 Fiat 500 Turbo

While it isn’t quite up to the gas mileage of some of its peers, the tiny 2013 Fiat 500 turbo is, simply put, fun.

With the same 1.4-liter, turbocharged MutliAir engine found in the 2013 Dodge Dart, the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo is essentially a Fiat Abarth--just with a much cheaper price tag.

It’s MSRP of $19,500, Fiat says, makes it one of the cheapest turbocharged cars on the market today, although a gas mileage of 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined doesn’t make it one of the most frugal.

If you’re OK with the fact that the Fiat 500 Turbo isn’t exactly the greenest small car on the market, its tiny wheelbase and good ride quality make it the ideal car for nipping around town.

Like the Dodge Dart however, the Fiat 500 Turbo performs best when pushed as close to its 6,900 rpm redline as possible. 

And that may impact your gas mileage quite substantially.

Your nominations?

The list above contains some GreenCarReport’s editorial staff’s favorite turbocharged green cars.

But what are yours? 

Leave your nominations, and the reasons for them, in the Comments below. 


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Comments (5)
  1. Worth noting that the Fiat 500 has the best city MPG of the lot, at 31 mpg. Seems like a great little city car.

  2. My mistake, it is actually only 28 mpg city.

  3. Nikki, I agree with you turbos are key to small engine performance, especially in gas engines. Mercedes had lots of diesel turbos as standard equipment in the early 1980's, over 30 years ago.

  4. My 2010 Golf TDI with six speed manual never ever got below 42 mpg in the city. I have achieved 51 on the highway with 44 as an average. I don't know what they are smoking with a 30 mpg city rating. Golfs with six speed manuals always get better mpg than the DSG tranny.

  5. Certainly seems to be a discrepancy between EPA and user data on diesels, but perhaps not as much as you are seeing

    EPA is listing 2010 Golf at 34 mpg combined. Fuelly data shows 40 mpg (assumed combined) or 18% higher than EPA.

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